Michelle Cottle

On Wednesday, Massachusetts lawmakers are scheduled to take up a bill barring parents from spanking children. This isn't the first time a state has tried this kind of meddling, though all efforts thus far have failed. I'm rooting for this one to as well. I understand the urge to prevent child abuse, but this smacks of government overreach--and it's precisely the sort of well-intentioned intrusion that revs up the right-wing crazies.  For the record, I don't spank my kids.

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Puff-o-rama

I realize The WaPo's "Style" section traffics in soft, squishy profiles, but this Michelle Obama gusher--preciously titled "Her Heart's in the Race"--makes tapioca look tough. The after-the-jump headline on page C10 tells you pretty much all you need to know: "Obama's Her Man, but She's Her Own Woman."  Gag.  --Michelle Cottle 

Over the holiday, my sister-in-law and I were sorting through some family memorabilia, including an April 1934 issue of Parents' magazine, the cover of which featured a portrait of her recently deceased aunt. On the final page of the magazine was a section called "Parental Problems And Ways to Meet Them," a compilation of correspondence from readers sharing not only their child-rearing nightmares but also the ways they had found to resolve them.

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Barbie Strikes Back

Who knew she had a sense of humor? --Michelle Cottle

So at lunch time I ran out to get my car's emissions checked. (Twas a strikingly painless process that took all of 5 minutes, if you can believe that.

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Meow, Round 3

Because these New York Timesmen just can't help themselves, Paul Krugman officially enters the tedious Was-Reagan-A-Race-Baiter? op-ed squabble that he arguably started with his recent book.  Who's up next? Frank Rich? Kristof? And just how bad will things have to get before Maureen decides to jump in with the psychosexual implications of the whole Philadelphia announcement?  --Michelle Cottle

Happy Holidays, Fatso

Talk about a killjoy: USA Today has a feature up on its web site starring Slim the Fitness Turkey. Presenting readers with an ala carte list of popular Thanksgiving dishes, Slim encourages us to check the items we plan to eat so that he can tally up the calories and then tell us how many hours of exercise we'll need to "work it off." (For instance, following a feast of turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, buttered rolls, wine, and pumpkin pie, I will need to jog for nearly two hours--or walk for more than three hours--to restore caloric equilibrium.) I understand we the people are way too fat.

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Marie's Got Juice

Jason mocks. But if all those drunk-on-'70s-nostalgia Osmond fans can keep the preternaturally bubbly Marie alive and kicking on "Dancing With The Stars" (even after she passed out on air!), who's to say they can't help Mitt go all the way?  Never underestimate the power of those teeth. --Michelle Cottle 

Meow, Part Ii

The bizarre cat fight among NYT opiners has a new combatant. Today, Bob Herbert argues that Ronald Reagan's 1980 presidential campaign launch was, in fact, all about the race baiting.

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There's a piece in today's WaPo's health section about the growing number of employers moving to penalize workers for indulging in unhealthful behaviors--most notably smoking--even outside of the workplace, on the argument that such employees wreak disproportionate havoc on companies' health insurance premiums.

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